The Cattle Raid of Cualnge

The Death of the Boys

Then the boys of Ulster had consulted in Emain Macha.

'Wretched indeed,' said they, 'for our friend Cuchulainn to be without help.'

'A question indeed,' said Fiachna Fulech Mac Fir-Febe, own brother to Fiacha Fialdama Mac Fir-Febe, 'shall I have a troop among you, and go to take help to him therefrom?'

Three fifties of boys go with their playing-clubs, and that was a third of the boys of Ulster. The host saw them coming towards them across the plain.

'A great host is at hand to us over the plain,' said Ailill.

Fergus goes to look at them. 'Some of the boys of Ulster that,' said he; 'and they come to Cuchulainn's help.'

'Let a troop go against them,' said Ailill, 'without Cuchulainn's knowledge; for if they meet him, you will not withstand them.'

Three fifties of warriors go to meet them. They

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fell by one another so that no one escaped alive of the abundance (?) of the boys at Lia Toll. Hence it is the Stone of Fiachra Mac Fir-Febe; for it is there he fell.

'Make a plan,' said Ailill.

'Ask Cuchulainn about letting you go out of this place, for you will not come beyond him by force, because his flame of valour has sprung.'

For it was customary with him, when his flame of valour sprang in him, that his feet would go round behind him, and his hams before; and the balls of his calves on his shins, and one eye in his head and the other out of his head; a man's head could have gone into his mouth. Every hair on him was as sharp as a thorn of hawthorn, and a drop of blood on each hair. He would not recognise comrades or friends. He would strike alike before and behind. It is from this that the men of Connaught gave Cuchulainn the name Riastartha.

The Woman-fight of Rochad

Cuchulainn sent his charioteer to Rochad Mac Fatheman of Ulster, that he should come to his help. Now it happened that Findabair loved Rochad, for he was the fairest of the warriors among the Ulstermen at that time. The man goes to Rochad and told him to come to help Cuchulainn if he had come out of his weakness; that they should deceive the host, to get at some of them to slay them. Rochad comes from the north with a hundred men.

'Look at the plain for us to-day,' said Ailill.

'I see a troop coming over the plain,' said the watchman,

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[paragraph continues] 'and a warrior of tender years among them; the men only reach up to his shoulders.'

'Who is it yonder, O Fergus?' said Ailill.

'Rochad Mac Fatheman,' said he, 'and it is to help Cuchulainn he comes.'

'I know what you had better do with him,' said Fergus. 'Let a hundred men go from you with the maiden yonder to the middle of the plain, and let the maiden go before them; and let a horseman go to speak to him, that he come alone to speak with the maiden, and let hands be laid on him, and this will keep off (?) the attack of his army from us.'

This is done then. Rochad goes to meet the horseman.

'I have come from Findabair to meet you, that you come to speak with her.'

He goes then to speak with her alone. The host rushes about him from every side. He is taken, and hands are laid on him. His force breaks into flight. He is let go then, and he is bound over not to go against the host till he should come together with all Ulster. It was promised to him that Findabair should be given to him, and he returned from them then. So that that is Rochad's Woman-fight.

The Death of the Princes [*1]

'Let a sword-truce be asked of Cuchulainn for us,' said Ailill and Medb.

Lugaid goes on that errand, and Cuchulainn grants the truce.

'Put a man on the ford for me to-morrow,' said Cuchulainn.

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There were with Medb six princes, i.e. six king's heirs of the Clanna Dedad, the three Blacks of Imlech, and the three Reds of Sruthair.

'Why should we not go against Cuchulainn?' said they.

They go next day, and Cuchulainn slew the six of them.


^67:1 Or 'royal mercenaries.'

The Death of Cur

Then Cur Mac Dalath is besought to go against Cuchulainn. He from whom he shed blood, he is dead before the ninth day.

'If he slay him,' said Medb, 'it is victory; and though it be he who is slain, it is removing a load from the host: for it is not easy to be with him in regard to eating and sleeping.'

Then he goes forth. He did not think it good to go against a beardless wild boy.

'Not so(?) indeed,' said he, 'right is the honour (?) that you give us! If I had known that it was against this man that I was sent, I would not have bestirred myself to seek him; it were enough in my opinion for a boy of his own age from my troop to go against him.'

'Not so,' said Cormac Condlongas; 'it were a marvel for us if you yourself were to drive him off.'

'Howbeit,' said he, 'since it is on myself that it is laid you shall go forth to-morrow morning; it will not delay me to kill the young deer yonder.'

He goes then early in the morning to meet him; and he tells the host to get ready to take the road before them, for it was a clear road that he would make by going against Cuchulainn.

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This is the Number of the Feats

He went on that errand then. Cuchulainn was practising feats at that time, i.e. the apple-feat, the edge-feat, the supine-feat, the javelin-feat, the rope-feat, the ------ feat, the cat-feat, the hero's salmon [-leap?], the cast ------, the leap over ------, the noble champion's turn, the gae bolga, the ------ of swiftness, the wheel-feat, the ------, the feat on breath, the mouth-rage (?), the champion's shout, the stroke with proper adjustment, the back-stroke, the climbing a javelin with stretching of the body on its point, with the binding (?) of a noble warrior.

Cur was plying his weapons against him in a fence (?) of his shield till a third of the day; and not a stroke of the blow reached Cuchulainn for the madness of the feats, and he did not know that a man was trying to strike him, till Fiacha Mac Fir-Febe said to him: 'Beware of the man who is attacking you.'

Cuchulainn looked at him; he threw the feat-apple that remained in his hand, so that it went between the rim and the body of the shield, and went back through the head of the churl. It would be in Imslige Glendanach that Cur fell according to another version.

Fergus returned to the army. 'If your security hold you,' said he, 'wait here till to-morrow.'

'It would not be there,' said Ailill; 'we shall go back to our camp.'

Then Lath Mac Dabro is asked to go against Cuchulainn, as Cur had been asked. He himself fell then also. Fergus returns again to put his security on them. They remained there until there were slain there Cur Mac Dalath, and Lath Mac Dabro, and

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[paragraph continues] Foirc, son of the three Swifts, and Srubgaile Mac Eobith. They were all slain there in single combat.

The Cattle Raid of Cualnge

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